November 15, 2011

New Fund to Promote Innovation in Philanthropy

Alliance for Global Good logoThe Alliance for Global Good, a grant-making organization in Greensboro, N.C., is starting a fund to promote innovation in philanthropy. While the exact size of the fund hasn't been decided, organization officials say it is likely to be in the $10-million range.

The alliance hopes that the fund will draw attention to charities that have found new approaches to tough problems and provide money to help them expand their work, says David M. Brand, the organization’s chief executive.

“There are so many great ideas out there,” he says. “How can you get them front and center?”

The alliance will announce the new fund Tuesday at the Inaugural Bipartisan Congressional Conference on Innovation in Giving and Philanthropy, which will feature discussions about social entrepreneurship and the role of technology in philanthropy, as well as a speech by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

'On-the-Ground Results'

The Alliance for Global Good, which was founded by the philanthropist Leonard Kaplan, seeks to help donors by being a clearinghouse for effective nonprofit organizations and providing a forum for donors to talk to each other and collaborate on projects.

Putting together the conference, the alliance identified many new and innovative programs, says Mr. Brand. As an example, he points to Sweet Beginnings, a honey business that is run by the nonprofit North Lawndale Employment Network and provides job training to young people who have been incarcerated.

“That is very transportable and transferable,” says Mr. Brand. “These are simple business models that can have real, substantial on-the-ground results, but they're small and people don't know about them.”

Mr. Brand says the alliance hopes that discussions at the gathering in Washington will help the organization shape the focus of the new innovation fund.

“We're being very open-minded about what are the things out there that can really, really make a difference,” he says. “We don't have the answers, and that's the really exciting part.”

Details about the fund’s operation will be announced early in 2012.